HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. — Descendants of family members buried at a cemetery from the 1800s are starting to come forward after reports of vandalism and a new eerie surveillance photo.
News 3’s Ashley Garrett reports the family had no idea about people allegedly riding ATV’s, partying and even shooting guns where the bodies of their families lie.
“I hate to see anybody vandalizing it. It’s just disrespectful,” says Angie Cardwell.
Angie Cardwell and her family live in Lagrange. She says she’s studied her family’s history since she was a little girl.
She says she’s related to the Daniels, Satterwhites, Sterlings, Smiths and the Myhands — all buried in Sardis Cemetery in Harris County.
Cardwell found out the story from her brother in la who’s the best friend of Scotty Smith, the man who brought us the story.
Cardwell not only shared her message for the young people believed to be responsible but also for law enforcement.
“Were they not raised better? Do their parents not think more of this? Do the local authorities not think more of this? Why are they turning a blind eye?” says Cardwell.
Cardwell says she wishes when folks are out riding ATV’s, using the headstones as ramps, drinking beer, having sex and shooting guns, that more people would consider the importance of the area.
“Jefferson Daniel he was a soldier who surrendered at Appomattox. So he’s a veteran. I mean and that’s just tidbits that I know. This is rich in history that we don’t even realize,” says Cardwell.
Alice Alsobrook lives in the Albertville area in north Alabama.
She says she and her cousin Lynn were notified about the vandalism reports by their cousin in Montana.
Alsobrook says she saw the story online and quickly notified her.
Alsobrook says they’re descendants of the Sands family buried at Sardis. She believes she has about 14 relatives buried in both marked and unmarked graves. She says she just can’t believe the lack of respect for the dead.
“Stop you know…we care about these people even though we never met any of them, they’re still our family,” says Alice.
Smith says he was taken back when saw an eerie image on his surveillance.
Smith, Cardwell, and Alsobrook all said that it appears to be a spirit in the night time photo.
“It shocked me I mean I could not sleep that night when I seen it. Who knows it could be someone trying to tell me just keep doing what you’re doing,” says Scotty Smith.
Cardwell, her family, Alsobrook and her cousin Lynn all shared their thanks to smith and WRBL for staying on top of this story.
“I appreciate the attention and what he’s done keeping it up and I appreciate you bringing light to it, but be careful and anything we can do, we’ll do it,” says Cardwell.
Smith says he contacted the owner of the cemetery, Weyerhauser Company. He says they gave him permission to put up a no trespassing sign and that only family members are allowed to visit.
Smith says he will be presenting evidence to Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley today with the backing of the owner.